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(SNO) –– Saint Lucia were left frustrated on Match-day 3 in Concacaf Nations League qualifier, ending in a scoreless draw away to the Cayman Islands at the Truman Bodden Sports Complex on Saturday night.
It was a first point after three matches for the home team, whilst Saint Lucia now have a win, a loss, and a draw, with their next game at home against Aruba in March 2019, and their chances to moving on to the Gold Cup looking considerably slimmer than they would have hoped.
Saint Lucia head coach Francis ‘Panko’ Mcdonald shook up his starting lineup, going with a 4-4-2 formation, and making two changes from the loss against Haiti. 19-year-old Vino Barclett anchored the team in goal.
Shawn Evans, an unused substitute against Haiti, replaced Melanius Mullarkey alongside young Otev Lawrence in the centre of defense, whilst fullbacks Kurt Frederick and Melvin Doxilly were retained.
The midfield quartet of Pernal Williams, captain Zaine Pierre, Malik St Prix, and Lester Joseph remained, whilst Alvinus Myers was dropped to the bench. In his stead, Jevick MacFarlane was brought in to partner Andrus Remy up front. MacFarlane, who was not even in the squad for Matchday 2, scored on his international debut as a substitute against Antigua and Barbuda on Matchday 1.
MacFarlane wasted a good chance, then a great one. For the second opportunity, he was teed up in the 33rd minute by St Prix, only to shoot over the bar unmarked at the edge of the six-yard box.
St Prix himself would go on to hit the near upright in a half dominated by the visitors. Frederick and St Prix each took three of Saint Lucia’s nine shots, three times as many as the home team could muster. Led by 29 passes from Williams, nearly twice as many as anyone else on the pitch, Saint Lucia enjoyed 56% of the possession and completed 86% of their 168 total pass attempts.
An opportunistic, pacey steal off a bad pass allowed MacFarlane a shot on goal in the 50th minute, only for him to meet the upright. It was the first of several decent chances for the travelling team, who ended up with a total of 22 shots. Frederick and St Prix had five each, whilst MacFarlane tallied four.
As well as upping the shot total, Saint Lucia improved their possession (58%) in the second period, and their passing tempo (367 attempted passes in all). All in all, though, it was an exercise in near futility for Saint Lucia, who bossed the game, without affecting the scoreline.
A young team, Saint Lucia should take lessons from Saturday’s stalemate, but these players have been around more than long enough to know they let what should have been a very winnable game slip away from them.